Move over Noel Coward. And Stephen Sondheim. And Clive James. The most influential Broadway tastemakers today? Tween girls. Yes, the same demographic that drives the success of High School Musical and Hannah Montana is now the directional force in American theatre. With the runaway success of Wicked, which was adopted by adolescent girls as a favorite (despite the fact that it was never marketed to them to begin with), theatre producers are now trying to sell — and re-sell — the oldest, hackneyed, already-seen stories wrapped in some pretty, sparkly (and deceptive) packaging. See: Legally Blonde: The Musical, the number of "American Idol" losers currently having runs on The Great White Way, and the current workshopping of Clueless: The Musical.
The problem with making the art for the audience, especially when the audience still decorates binders with stickers and glitter pens? They don't exactly have money of their own. So unless 13-year olds can convince parents, friends, and entire families to attend, well, they're not exactly gonna sell out the house each night.
Meanwhile, we cringe at the thought of a tween-friendly Sweeny Todd. Zac Efron as the blood-soaked Demon Barber of Fleet Street? God save our musical-loving souls. And yeah, we're totally singing "Send in the Clowns" right now.